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Woodworking and Machining in the Same Shop?

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  • Woodworking and Machining in the Same Shop?

    Just curious how many of you out there have some woodworking machines in your shop, and how you deal with the dust around your machine tools.

    All of my woodworking tools have proper dust collection, and I do a very good job of controlling it, but no matter how efficient a dust collection system can be, there still can be a small amount of dust that accumulates.

    I'm thinking that all of my machining tools should have a cover of some kind, and then I'll just be extra diligent about dust. Also, my machining will occur on the opposite side of the shop as most of my dust-creating machines.

    Any other strategies?

  • #2
    All my stuff (woodworking and metalworking) is in a 30x40 space. I have yet to deal with that problem on a large scale since I have done very little woodworking since setting up the machine tools. What I have done was done largely in good weather so ripping some big sheets of plywood etc. were done outdoors.

    Still, I see your point. Most dust collectors are really dust distributors with the exception of the good cyclonic systems with very fine outlet filters. I am thinking in my case that building an air cleaner will probably make sense. I don't think sawdust does machine way surfaces any favors as it tends to drink up oil.

    My metal lathe is closest to the table saw and covering things up is probably not a bad idea. I have some old comforters floating around the shop for same and even found some of the rust-resistant plastic bags big enough to drop over several of the machine tools like my Bridgeport mill and my Sheldon shaper.

    Paul Carpenter
    Mapleton, IL


    • #3
      I used to have this problem, now I have the two shops separated.
      I kept the dust off of the equipment with grill covers, outboard motor covers, or whatever I could find cheap that would work. Drop cloths will do the job too.
      You could consider one of the recirculating air filtration units, but I doubt that it would be a total solution either.
      Location: North Central Texas


      • #4
        I cover my machine tools with old bed sheets or similar.
        John R


        • #5
          I cover my machines with old curtains(brightens the shop)
          I read somewhere that sawdust will absorb water and keep rust at bay but I prefer to keep thedust to a minimum.
          I have tools I don't know how to use!!


          • #6
            In my 1200 sq.ft. shop, I use a cyclonic system when using saws, planer, jointer or shaper, or a Porter Cable shop vac when sanding or using my hand routers. I also cover my mill, lathe, cutter grinder and stock rack with plactic tarps. I tryed the bed sheets, but dust filters thru. This system works pritty well for me.


            • #7
              Very good subject.

              I have tried to use many of the same principles I have used in our commerical shops over the years to shape how my private shops are configured.

              In building and using my different shops over the years, I combined both woodworking and metalworking elements to where they hae coexisted peacefully.

              My general solution is to have the metalworking tools on one side and the woodworking on the other. The two areas are separated by a transparent plastic curtain with a blower on the woodworking side to create a negative pressure that draws air from the metalworking side. The curtain can be raised for those times when the entire area of the shop is needed to be accessed.

              The negative pressure causes any airborne dust to be drawn to the woodworking side and the air is returned by a duct to the far side of the metalworking side of the shop. I also go to great lengths to not have any airborne oil spray that might migrate to the woodworking area to spoil any finishing that might be done and the blower can be reversed thereby reversing the airflow on the rare times when I want to make absolutely sure that no airborne oil makes it to the woodworking side.

              Another problem with sharing metalworking with woodworking is that metal chips "walk over" to the woodworking area. To preclude that I have mats that serve as chip catchers that automatically capture chips that might follow me over to the metalworking side. I also have most of my manual machines screened so any chips will not go far astray. And all of my CNC machines like the Haas are enclosed to keep their mess at bay.

              Within each area I conduct dust collection for wood and grinding dust. In woodworking certain machines produce the majority of the dust (abasive machines like sanders) and in metalworking it is the grinding machines. Handling the dust at its source precludes it causing a problem elsewhere, both in the other area of the shop and in the local shop area. I have seen many fine metalworking tools ruined when a grinder is located near them. Grouping all your fine particle producing machines together simplifies the dust collection effort.

              To do a shop properly one must be ruthless in dust collection. A test is to place glass slides on horizontal surfaces and check them in a day/week/month to determine if any dust is being accumlated...and if there is one needs to look for the source and correct the problem.

              Another approach I use is to do all "dirty" operations that you can do outside the shop when possible. I have an apron that I can roll any machine out on and create the mess in the great outdoors. I try to do all my welding, foundry work and machine restoration outside for safety.

              In my experience the average shop greatly neglects dust control. I have been told more than once that one could eat off my shop floors. ;<)



              • #8

                I just moved and had the great opportunity to build a new shop - my last since we have retired and will never move a shop again ( approx 28,000 pounds moved by my wife and I). It is about 30 x 45. I just made two rooms. That used up a 6" space about 40' long for the wall enclosing the wood shop. Two advantages - no dust issue, and more wall space to hang cabinets or set machines to. It actually gave me more layout options than a single room.



                • #9
                  In the same shop? I do it on the same tools.

                  Well, not all that much milling and lathe work, but I do turn and mill wood without hesitation, and without ever getting any dust on the ways. I suppose my style of work wouldn't hold up in a busy professional shop, but I keep my lathe and mill ways covered just as though I were planning to grind.

                  I just got a bunch of 1/16" neoprene sheeting, and covered everything, like this:


                  I even made secondary covers for the DRO scales:


                  It took a little while to work out my setup, and I find it hardly slows my work at all. When I take the rubber sheets off to clean up, I usually find no chips or dust on the ways.

                  I also have old bedsheets and vinyl shower curtains to drape on the tools if I'm doing messy woodwork or blowing dust out of the shop.


                  Frank Ford
                  Gryphon Stringed Instruments
                  My Home Shop Pages

                  Frank Ford


                  • #10
                    i just run a plastic curtain down between the shops..and some dust collection via shop vac in the woodshop...i dont get any more dust in my metal shop than just walkin back and forth on the floor joists. the clear plastic also lets the light pass through...keeps you from feeling so enclosed.
                    "Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment" R.M.Brown

                    My shop tour


                    • #11
                      The nature of the spreading contaminants (wood dust, coolant mist etc) in wood/machine shops can be a PITA. The wood dust blots of residual oil leaving table and ways open to rust. Oak dust almost promotes it. Oil smoke and mists interferes with wood finishes and the ever migrant chips clinging to lumber can really mess up jointer knives.

                      The problem compounds when welding and fabrication share to same space but here the problem is grit on the machine tools and fire hazard for the wood debris. For all three to co-exist in a small space (less than 1000 sq ft) you have to maintain separation via scrupulous cleanliness and partitioning.

                      It's one of those paper scissors rock dilemmas. You have to keep the activities separate as much if you can. In a shop the size of a one car bay of a garage it's almost impossible. A larger shop the separation isn't as difficult to maintain.

                      I have a 2500 sq ft shop. The machine shop and fabrication share space saparated by the stock racks. The wood shop (and the planer and ram shaper) is in a 1500 square ft new structure. I maintain but in these days of limited mobility I don't get out in it as much as I need to. OTH not much dust. It works out.


                      • #12
                        Wood, metal, plastic, rubber, what else is there- all done in the same room, and usually done on the same machines. Nice clean material is worked on next to a pile of metal chips laying in wood dust, compounded by static prone plastic swarf. The same brush used to sweep away metal chips gets used to brush off the table saw. Rags used to clean grinding dust off the lathe are used for the final sanding on fine woodworking. Don't need no tongue oil, way lube works fine. Overspray from paint cans tends to knock dust out of the air, and now and then the big push broom is brought up and everything gets a few swipes with that. All the stringy swarf from the drill presses gets stuck in the bristles, so that helps to scrape dust off the ways and the workbenches. It also gets stuck in the vacuum cleaner hose, where it pre-filters the intake. A bed sheet catches some of the rest before it goes through the motor brushes area.

                        Refuse on the floor is swept into one pile. Whenever it's required to transfer some solvent or other liquids, it's done over that pile. If something is spilled, it's pretty much out of sight right away. You almost never see anything oozing out from the edges. Sometimes there's a bit of smoke, but if that's bad enough it just means it's coffee time. A while later and you'll never know it happened.

                        Sometimes when you first come into the shop you'll notice a bad smell. That's an indicator that it's time to do something about the pile. At that point, the table saw is overturned and the agglomerate of sawings is swept over to the pile and then brushed up over it to cover as much as possible. When you can't walk around the pile without kicking some of the crud into the center of the floor, it's time to load it all into garbage bags and disguise the top of the bags with kitchen waste. A few old milk cartons cut open and laid across the top usually does the trick.

                        Using these techniques, you don't really need a dust collector. Another bonus is that the insect population is minimal. If you see one moving, it must have just got in there. A few hours later it'll be dead. Besides, with the average amount of raw propane that's lost to this environment, it's kind of sterile, or antiseptic. Can't complain about that.

                        If a fairly large project is happening, an area is cleared and a new workbench is built. There's nothing like a fresh new bench to enhance creativity. Afterwards, it can be used for other things.

                        Just kidding- about one thing anyway. I don't drink milk, so there aren't any milk cartons lying around. I usually use some old forgotten doggie bags from the fridge.
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                        • #13
                          Woodworking and Machining in the Same Shop?

                          I have both woodworking machinery and metalworking machines in the same shop. I do a little fabrication and welding in the same space too. I have found that most of the wood dust is from sanding, not sawing or planer activity. I save up my sanding and do it outside, where the wind blows it away. The saws and planer share a shop vac and that keeps the mess to a minimum. The worst thing I have to fight is grit from grinding welds with an angle grinder. That stuff goes everywhere. I do all my welding and hand grinding activities in front of the overhead door and frequently sweep up the dust, being careful to remove any bits of mig wire, stubs of welding rods, or bits of metal, before sweeping it into the gravel driveway. So far it has worked flawlessly. I do make it a point to clean and lube the lathe and mill before I use them so as to not agravate the grit on the ways problem.
                          Jim (KB4IVH)

                          Only fools abuse their tools.


                          • #14
                            I also have everything in one shop. I have my metal lathe in one corner, pretty much isolated from the rest of the shop. The wood lathe is across on the opposite wall. As much as possible I keep the woodworking stuff on one side of the shop and the metalworking on the other. But when a large project is in the works, the two areas have to overlap, so it's just a matter of cleaning up often.

                            I've built a separate room for grinding and sandblasting and other abrasive activities. I'll soon add a vent fan to the outside wall of this room to pull air through the curtain door and exhaust it outside. That should keep the grit isolated from the rest of the shop.

                            And I'm slowly getting a dust collection system together for the woodworking side. That will help enormously with the wood dust problem.

                            All the same, I have no problem cutting brass, aluminum, copper, etc. on the same bandsaw, table saw, or miter saw that I use for woodworking.

                            Forrest, your observation, "Oak dust almost promotes it" is right on the money. Oak is acidic. One of the first things we were told when studying production woodworking machinery was to never leave a piece of oak on the machine table will often leave behind a stain or roughened spot.


                            • #15
                              I have the same problem with sawdust in our shop, and you already have the solution as I see it: cover your metal-working machines snugly when doing wood work and then uncover them and wipe them down ASAP and then spray with WD-40.